Garrett Meisen hurls a shut out and the bats come to life late in a 5-0 victory

by: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn southpaw Garrett Meisen tossed a complete-game shutout to help guide the Lions into the state tournament with a 5-0 victory. The West Linn baseball team didn't exactly enter the postseason riding a wave of momentum. But, despite a 13-game losing streak, the Lions entered their play-in game with Glencoe with confidence.

Despite not getting over the hump since its first league series with Canby, the Lions hung tough with Clackamas and Lakeridge and knew they compete with top competition.

“We came out focused. A lot of teams in our situation might have just rolled over but, you can tell by how excited these guys are, we wanted to win,” coach Kevin Mills said.

West Linn received a stellar pitching performance from Garrett Meisen and shut out the Crimson Tide 5-0 to advance to the state tournament.

For five innings, the game was a scoreless pitcher's duel as, despite terrific pitching and defense, West Linn's bats continued to struggle.

Glencoe threatened in the top of the first inning, getting a runner to third base with two outs before third-baseman Braden Vogt made a diving stop to save a run.

“I have a lot of confidence in our defense. I didn't go out trying to strike a lot of guys out,” Meisen said.

On the mound, Meisen pitched to contact for much of the game and worked both sides of the plate to keep the Glencoe hitters off balance.

“Garrett can locate pitches. He throws three pitches for strikes and he forces the other team to beat him,” Mills said.

In the top of the third, Meisen induced a double play but West Linn's threat in the bottom of the inning was also thwarted by a double play turned by the Crimson Tide.

The Lions finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth.

Freshman Will Mathiessen led off with a deep single off the fence in centerfield. Freshman Brayden Pene followed with a one-out double to right field.

“Our freshmen had four of our six hits tonight and they played great defense up the middle,” Mills said.

West Linn would score the first run on a wild pitch and Jackson Brooke then set down a perfect squeeze bunt to score the second run.

The Lions would tack on some insurance in the bottom of the sixth. Chase Meyers struck out but reached first base on a dropped third strike.

Karson Lindell followed with a double to right field and Kevin Kott hit a deep sacrifice fly.

After Alec Gans drew a walk, Matthiessen and Mitch Mondor each had RBI singles to make it 5-0.

Meisen gave up a lead-off walk in the seventh inning but got another double play and a terrific stop by Mathiessen at shortstop provided the final out of the game, clinching the play-in victory.

West Linn will play North Medford on the road this Friday.

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